Each section includes the following parts:
You can do the activities in a family group with children of different ages; or you can do them during quiet time with just you and your child. Within each section:
As you do the activities, try not to disapprove of or be negative about how well your child completes each task. Sometimes, when parents make comments, children turn off and tune out. There is no best way to do these activities. Let your child take the lead and guide you through the activity.
The text in this book takes turns using he/his, she/hers, and other male-female pronouns. Even if the text says he, you can still do the activity with your daughter; or, even if the text says to help your child do something herself, you can still have your son do the activity.
*Adapted from: Playground Politics: Understanding the Emotional Life of Your School-Age Child, Stanley Greenspan, M.D., Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. 1993. And A Sympathetic Understanding of the Child: Birth to Sixteen, David Elkind, Allyn and Bacon, 1974.
*Adapted from: Different and Wonderful: Raising Black Children in a Race-Conscious Society, Darlene Hopson, Ph.D. and Derek Hopson, Ph.D. Prentice Hall Press, 1990.
These activities are appropriate for both boys and girls. Your child’s interests should determine your approach to the activities.
Children have different talents, interests, and gifts, and these qualities can change based on a child’s age. For this reason, the activities are designed so that you can easily change them to fit your child’s age, interests, and talents. You can also use these activities as a starting point for ideas from your child or your family. Please adapt the activities for children with special needs. Do what works best with your children and your family.
This book doesn’t give strict guidelines for the activities because, no matter what their age, children have many different gifts, talents, and interests. But, as you plan to do each activity with your child, you may want to think about how your child is changing and developing. The information below describes some general qualities* of children at different ages. You may notice some of your child’s qualities in these lists.
Many children, including those with special needs, may have qualities that are listed in all three age groups. Or, they may have features that aren’t listed. Do what works best for your child’s developmental stage.
For these activities to be most helpful, you need to be still and listen to your child. Make sure your child has your complete attention. When doing these activities, stop doing chores, talking on the phone, or watching television. You need to be an active listener.
When your child is talking, you can be an active listener* by: